Iran will not abandon N-programme: Khamenei
Iran's "enemies" would be "disappointed" after any confrontations with the Islamic Republic, Khamenei told a gathering.Updated: Mar 27, 2006 16:03 IST
Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday that Iran would stand firm against any action taken to pressure it to abandon its controversial nuclear programme, state-run television reported.
Iran's "enemies" would be "disappointed" after any confrontations with the Islamic Republic, Khamenei told a gathering of thousands of members of Basij, a paramilitary volunteers group affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards.
Khamenei implied that Iran takes seriously the mounting international criticism of its nuclear program.
"It is possible that their threats might be realised, in some cases," the supreme leader said, according to a television report that summarised his speech. The audio of the speech was not broadcast.
The United States is now pushing for strong UN Security Council action to try to stop what it claims is Iran's ambition to build a nuclear bomb.
The UN body, however, has been bogged down for two weeks over how to make a first move.
Iran has resisted international pressure to give up uranium enrichment, a key process that can produce either fuel for a nuclear reactor or the material for a nuclear warhead.
The country says its nuclear programme is to generate electricity only, and not to produce nuclear weapons.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed Iran will "not withdraw a minute step in the field of nuclear energy" and said the United Nations "cannot stop Iran's peaceful usage of nuclear energy."
Durinig a visit to the southwestern city of Yasuj, he dismissed efforts by the administration of US President George W Bush to rally UN support for tough action on Iran.
"The Iranian nation doesn't consider Bush's frowning face is worth a cent," he said. Khamenei said on Sunday that the United States and Israel had falsely presented their opposition to Iran as a "global consensus" and that they had tried several times since the 1979 Islamic Revolution to control Iran.
His comments came after he and Ahmadinejad both gave approval for talks with the United States on ways to stabilize neighboring Iraq.
The time and location of the talks has not been set, but both sides said they would not touch on the nuclear matter.
First Published: Mar 27, 2006 03:52 IST